Bess Frelinghuysen Ratliff was born and raised in New York City. She has a BA from Vassar College and an MFA in film from Columbia University. Bess currently lives and works in Portland, Oregon with her husband and three sons.
Bess has worked in film, marble and, most enduringly, pastel. Since her early days as an artist, she has enjoyed working with her hands (and not a paint brush), reveling in the vibrant color and textural depth pastels provide. A Medieval and Renaissance Studies major at Vassar College, Bess has used this era to mine much inspiration. Bess has had two previous solo shows, one in New York at the Treillage Gallery, and one in Los Angeles at Gallery 169. Both these shows featured her pastel feathers, originally conceived as an evocation of a song, Radiohead's Bulletproof - masquerading as a scientific pursuit. Bess aims at playing with the concepts of the fresco cycle and the illuminated manuscript. Her next series will illustrate "Pyramid Song," re-imagining sacred art and storytelling, fusing them in a pastel cycle series.